Dr. Jordan B Peterson on Freedom of Speech & Political Correctness (Full Transcript)

Dr Jordan B Peterson

Faith Goldy – The Rebel Media

He’s been a dishwasher, a gas jockey, a bartender, a short-order cook, a beekeeper, a plywood mill laborer, and a railway line worker.

But today, Professor Jordan B. Peterson is best known for his work in the academic world. He has published more than 100 scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality and revolutionizing the psychology of religion with his now classic book, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”.

As a Harvard professor, he was nominated for the prestigious Levinson Teaching Prize. Now, at the University of Toronto, he is regarded by students as one of their truly life-changing teachers.

And I think that I speak for a great deal of people in this room, and frankly across the country, when I say you needn’t be one of Professor Peterson’s students to have been enlightened and inspired by that eight-pound universe between his ears, as well as his bravery.

Most recently, Dr. Peterson became the center of an ongoing national controversy for refusing to abide by the University of Toronto’s attempt to put very specific words into his mouth when they ordered professors comply with the genders pronouns policy.

Dr. Peterson’s vivid dissent over language politics and the political agenda behind it has seen him threatened and shouted down by snowflake students and the academic hierarchy alike. As a result of his public views on how “political correctness” violates freedom of speech and academic freedom in the west, Professor Peterson has become a cultural icon for liberty lovers, and a long-awaited obstruction to the wayfarers on the long march of the institutions.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.

JORDAN B. PETERSON – Canadian clinical psychologist

So about 3 months ago, I sat in my office at night — I wasn’t really sleeping very well, because my mind was running, and it was running because I’d just read some policy documents on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website in relationship to Bill C16, and at the same time I had heard that the University of Toronto, HR & Equity vice president had decided to make “anti-unconscious bias training” mandatory mandatory for her staff.

Which I find appalling and still find appalling and I would recommend if any of you are asked or required to have your unconscious biases adjusted that you might note to yourself that by agreeing to do so you have agreed that you’re guilty. And I wouldn’t recommend that.

Anyways, I was mostly trying to straighten out my thoughts on these issues, and that’s usually what I do when I speak, because, and I have a good reputation as a speaker and I think there’s two reasons for that, and one is I don’t ever speak to a group I always speak to individuals. I’m not speaking to the group, I’m speaking to individual people.

And I’m not telling you what’s right, because I don’t know what’s right. What I’m trying to do is to formulate my thoughts more clearly. And it’s helpful to do that in speech, even in front of an audience because it’s a dialogue with an audience, if you watch the individuals then you can tell if they are following you, or whether mostly whether they’re following you, if they can understand the line of the argumentation.

And some of them will be shaking their heads and some of them will be nodding. And some of them will be looking puzzled, in which case you kind of have to reformulate and so, that’s how I… that’s how to think. And when you’re speaking to people it’s okay to tell them what you know, but better to show them how you think.

And that means you’re going to stumble around like an idiot some of the time because you’re trying to grapple with things and what I try to do for my students is to model the process of grappling with things. Because that’s what you do. When you think — and well Norman pointed out that you can be right, or you can try to get smarter and to be right, then you convince people that you’re right but to try to get smarter you find out why you’re wrong.

And so I decided a long time ago, that one of the ways to deal with my ‘authoritarian tendencies’ let’s say, was to make friends with what I don’t know instead of what I do know. And that’s a whole different way of looking at the world, and it’s got its pain because you’re always trying to figure out why you’re a biased moron and that’s a very long list — you have a very long list of reasons for that.

And then you have to find out why you’re wrong and as a short term mechanism for attaining psychological stability I wouldn’t recommend it. But as a long term process where you’re trying to make things work better in the medium to long term, then it’s the only way.

But it’s easy to sacrifice the future for the present, although it’s kind of the reverse of the way you should do things. So anyways I made these videos –pretty amateur videos and the lighting wasn’t very good and there was a bunch of things wrong with them.

But one of the things I’ve been wondering about for the last three months is just what happened? What’s going on here? This is crazy. I’ve been accused of a lot of things, some of which are no doubt true. But I’ve been accused of being a racist and being a transphobe and— what else — profiteering, and I guess the other one was scaremongering! Yeah that’s the other one. Scaremongering.

And so course I’ve been wondering if those things are true because it’s not like my heart is as pure as the driven snow, hardly. And everyone has biases and all of that.

And I also — while this unfolded had a group of friends who were definitely critics who were watching everything I was doing and letting me know pretty forthrightly when I was being arrogant or when I was — looked kind of disheveled and when my arguments weren’t as clear as they could be and so these were smart people and their comments were very incisive and then of course I had all the blowback.

And I was paying attention to it because, well, you should pay attention to such things. And I do pay attention to things! That’s the thing; I actually pay attention to things.

And if I’m embroiled in a controversy even if it’s a problem in my home, I try to get to the damn bottom of it. And the bottom of things is not a pretty place to look. When you’re arguing with someone at home, even someone you love, you notice that your argument can get out of hand pretty quick.

So if you’re arguing with your wife or your husband — and it depends on how volatile you are of course — but you start arguing about some little thing and then you come to understand pretty quick that it’s not actually about that little thing at all — that little thing is associated with a bigger thing underneath that, and maybe that’s associated with even a bigger thing under that.

And soon you’re taking each other apart — and assuming you’ve been married for twenty years — for all the stupid things you’ve done to each other over the last twenty years, and it doesn’t have to end there. And that’s not pleasant. It’s really hard to bind a conversation so it doesn’t go everywhere, so one thing you can do if you’re talking with someone about something you disagree with — someone you love you can tell them a bunch of good things about what they’ve been doing which you actually believe and then just say “Well but there’s this little problem here, and I’d just like it adjusted in a minor way. And maybe that’ll sort things out a bit between us.” And maybe you won’t fall into that stupid pit, which is easy to fall into which certainly can lead to divorce, among other things.

And so a huge part of the issue always is just exactly what is this about? Well I’ve been asking myself that question for a long, long time, because I’ve been interested in authoritarian conflict and atrocity and totalitarianism for way longer than anyone with any sanity should ever be interested in it.

And then this all came up and I thought OK OK OK. It’s like all right well — am I a bigot and a transphobe? Well, I probably have my biases because people tend to have in-group biases and that’s associated, by the way, with compassion! Just so you know it, because one of the things compassion does is make you much more strongly bound to your in-group.

A mother is compassionate because she loves her baby and she loves the baby more than other things that aren’t the baby obviously. And so actually compassion is one of the main sources of in-group bias which is something for the compassion warriors to think about for like 3/5ths of a second.

There’s nothing less compassionate to you than a mother grizzly bear protecting her cubs. And so you should think about that when you think about empathy for a minute. Because empathy is by no means an untrammeled moral virtue. In fact, it’s responsible and can be responsible for absolutely atrocious actions.

It depends on who you’re empathizing with. If you’re empathizing with someone that you regard as an infantilized victim, then you automatically snap into a frame of mind where everyone who might be oppressing that infantilized victim is a predatory parasite. And you’re not very bloody empathetic to them I can tell you. So that’s a big problem.

Anyways, with regards to this scaremongering issue, so yeah… biased. Yeah probably. And blind? Definitely. Like more than you might expect? No… I don’t think so. and one of the things that actually protected me through all this was that I’ve actually tried to come to terms with the evil that lurks in human hearts, particularly my own.

And I have 500 hours of lectures on that online, if anybody has the bizarre desire to pound their way through them, they can more or less figure out what I think because I’ve said 500 of hours of it publicly. And so I didn’t feel too bad about my level of bigotry or hatred.

I think you can probably infer that from watching the videos, so it’s kind of protected on that front. And then there was this “scaremongering” issue and that’s a good one, that’s a tough one man because if you look at Bill C16 it just kind of looks like “Well we’re extending protection to another oppressed group” which isn’t actually true because gender identity — no gender expression — that’s not a group.

I’d just like to point that out because terminological accuracy actually matters. So we’ve extended legal protection to fashion essentially, and you can say well maybe I’m being a bit intransigent about that, but I read the damn policies and I don’t think I am! And that’s not a group, so that’s an indication of the muddle-headedness behind the legislation.

The federal government — the department of justice did say on their own website that they were going to interpret that law in light of the policies of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. And so fine man! Go to the Ontario Human Rights Commission if they haven’t taken the policies off yet and read what they’re up to.

And if you agree with that, well good. Agree with it. But I would suspect that if you agree with it you didn’t understand it…or you’re up to something and that comes to the next part what are we really talking about here?

Well, we could be talking about my biases and my proclivity to scaremonger. And you know fair enough, but, here’re some reasons we’re not. And one is that I have all those lectures online and believe me if there would have been a phrase in any of them that indicated there was something even vaguely morally corrupt about me it would have been paraded around as evidence you can be sure of that, so that’s kind of a relief.

I did a lot of soul searching in the last couple of months, and it’s not like I’m without my problems but anyways. So what is this about? Well, we’ll say hopefully it’s not about me because that’d be stupid. And so what’s going on? Why are all these people watching these videos — these things I made just to figure out what I was thinking because I couldn’t sleep one night and because I’m not very damn happy about that unconscious bias stuff which I would regard as absolutely reprehensible, that you could be held guilty for your implicit perceptions, think about that.

ALSO READ:   Math Isn't Hard, It's a Language by Randy Palisoc (Full Transcript)

God, they use that test as a diagnostic test, but it doesn’t meet the criteria for reliability and validity that you’d use for a diagnostic test. It doesn’t produce the same results one time after another. And you can use it to target anybody and so go along with it if you want just see what happens. Anyways.

So I’ve been thinking about this, what’s going on, why the outcry? You’d think “Well professor Peterson got his 15 minutes of fame.” Well I had my 15 minutes of trivial fame several times in my life. There’re some good things about it, but I am despite what you might think a rather private person and so it’s not like I’m particularly enjoying it.

But I thought something when I made those videos. I thought this is something I learned from reading mythology. If you have to fight a dragon you should go to its lair before it comes to your village. And so people think of what I did as courageous and I don’t think that’s right. I just think that I can see danger coming and you get to pick — you get to pick your anxiety.

I could be either anxious about speaking or I could be anxious about not speaking. And so I chose to be anxious about speaking, and that’s not exactly courage, it’s more like common sense. But that assumes you’re looking into the future, so you might say well what gives me any special power to look into the future and hey that’s a good question. I mean God only knows what’s going to happen in the next few years.

I did read today this is cool. 250,000 people will be lifted out of absolute poverty today and 300,000 more will be connected to electricity. And we’re knocking poverty rates around the world down faster by a huge margin than we ever have in human history.

There was an article in the New York Times today called “Why 2016 Was The Best Year Ever”; it’s really worth reading. I concluded the same thing, I worked for a UN committee a couple years ago and I was looking at what was going to happen about down the road. Everything I kept reading was well: Wow! We’re getting rid of polio, we’re getting rid of elephantiasis which you really don’t want to have, we’re getting rid of guinea worm, we’re getting rid of polio, we’re knocking malaria back into that swamps from where it comes, we’re lifting people out of poverty, it’s like man we’re doing a lot of great things, you’d sure never guess that by the way we treat ourselves.

So, anyways, so what’s going on? OK so I thought well I better think about this I’ve been thinking for a long time. So the right wing is really hard on the Frankfurt school — the Frankfurt school were these kind of neomarxists guys who combined Marxism with Freudianism in the 1940s and they were avowed neomarxist so it’s not like I’m making an accusation. And they were kind of anti-system type people and all of that.

But I think to lay what’s happening at the universities and in the broader culture itself at the feet of the Frankfurt school is insufficient. I really think that it’s primarily a consequence of the French intellectuals who — and this is obviously an oversimplification — who emerged out of Marxism in the early 1970s and produced post-modernism.

Now, the thing about the post-modernist types is they’re nested inside Marxism. They say that straight out, I’m not inventing this, you read Derrida who’s like the, the joker at the head of the post-modernist movement. And I mean joker because he’s an intellectual clown and that doesn’t mean he’s stupid because he is not stupid, not at all.

These people are not stupid, they know exactly what they’re doing. They know precisely what they’re doing. They’re a helluva lot more educated about what they’re doing than you are, unless you happen to be one of them. And they mean exactly what they say just like people always do when they tell you what they’re going to do, or they write it down. And they say straight out on their websites, say the women’s studies websites: “We think the patriarchy is an oppressive structure that should be broken down to its core.”

And they mean core conceptions, it’s not just social, it’s linguistic, philosophical, and attitudinal. It should be broken down and wiped out and restructured from the bottom up and they mean that. So, it’s not accidental any of this, and I know it sounds like a bloody paranoid conspiracy theory.

But I’ve always been of the idea especially from reading Jung that people don’t have ideas, ideas have people. And these are powerful ideas! There’s a good book called “Explaining Post-Modernism” that I might recommend by a guy named Steven R.C. Hicks. And his first chapter which isn’t very long is a good introduction to political correctness.

But so why do I think this is about that? Well here’s my reasons, I mean it doesn’t seem to be about me. I think all I did actually was actually make the general specific which is kind of what you have to do if you really want to make a point. A point! That’s one place if you want to make a point.

And my point was: I’m not saying made up words generated by post-modern neomarxists because I despise everything they stand for, and so I’m not using those damn words. And that’s that.

And it’s not like I have something against transgender people. I’m sure some of them are lovely people and some of them aren’t. And so they can do whatever they want as far as I’m concerned as long as they don’t — they can do whatever they want as far as I’m concerned as long as I’m not forced to go along with the most radical representatives of them who don’t even speak for them anyways!

I’ve got like 20 letters from transsexual people supporting what I’ve done, and like none opposing it. One of the things that’s kind of cool is I’ve only got like 3 hate letters. I thought three! Jesus you guys — you guys aren’t trying very hard. And I got like a thousand letters of support and if you go on YouTube where I’m radically over-represented and you look at the comments and the likes and the dislikes it’s about the same ratio. Likes to dislikes are 100 to 1, and almost all the comments are positive which could easily be a selection bias and probably is.

But it still means that there’s quite a few people who think that what I’m doing is sort of OK as far as they’re concerned and that’s important. Anyways, we need to talk a little bit about post-modernism, OK?

So let’s go back to France in the end of the 1960s so… and this is of course an oversimplification and I’m sure I’m wrong about some of it because it’s not exactly my field of specialty, this field of sociology. I’m more of a scientist type but and if I read philosophy I tend not to read second-rate philosophy.

So I’ve tried to avoid the post-modernists to some degree because their incoherency is one of the least of their sins but they don’t care about that. No, no you’ve got to understand, man. Its modernist and enlightenment people and even traditionalist who care about coherency. The post-modernists don’t believe in coherency and I’m not making this up, this is a part of their philosophy. They don’t believe in logic.

You know Derrida says straight out that western society is “phallo-logos-centered” by which he means male-centered and privileging the idea of logic. Well, he doesn’t buy any of that. He doesn’t think there’s a truth that’s out there, he doesn’t believe that individuals can reach any sort of truth by thinking, he certainly doesn’t believe that we can move towards truth in dialogue because that’s “dialogic” right, there’s none of that.

You wonder “Well why do the post-modern types keep other thinkers off that campus?” Well it’s not because they’re afraid. Well some of them are, but they use their fragility as a mask for their underlying philosophical and political interests. They do that fragmentarily, it’s not like every social justice warrior is a sword carrying post-modernist, but the ideas are fragmented and distributed among them like they’re distributed among a mob.

And if you put the whole mob together you get the whole post-modernist thing happening at the same time. And that’s how ideas have people instead of the other way around. Anyways.

Forget about logic. That’s out the window, that’s just a construct of western society. And the whole point of the construct was to oppress other people and take their wealth and to privilege the people who live within that so called logic system so that they can justify to themselves and other people their predator rapaciousness.

Straight and simple, and that’s partly because post-modernism was influenced by Marxism and of course that’s what the Marxist think about any situation where there’s a power/status differential: the people at the top are only there because they’ve stolen everything from the people at the bottom.

And so the Marxists in France realized, by the end of the 1960s thereabouts when even john Paul Sartre finally figured out that to be a communist probably wasn’t acceptable given that the bloody soviets had killed like 30 million between 1919 and 1959, and the Maoists had done the same thing on a greater scale in China. And we could talk about North Korea, and — but whatever students don’t learn any of that in school anymore and even if they did they wouldn’t want to listen to it.

When I tell my students in my second-year psychology class about The Gulag Archipelago, hardly any of them know. Well why is that? Well, it’s because they haven’t been taught it. Why is that? Well see if you can figure it out.

All right so anyways, back to the post-modern types. So it got to the point where there’s just no way you could be a Marxist especially after Solzhenitsyn because Solzhenitsyn wrote this great book which is actually out of print for crying out loud which I’ve actually been able to popularize like mad over the last three months, which is really mind-boggling.

What Solzhenitsyn did in his genius manner, because he’s up there Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy like man that guy! He’s a towering intellect and a person of spectacular moral force. He put himself on the line for that book, he memorized it when he was in the prison camps, it’s about 3 volumes that thick, it’s like 2000 pages of someone screaming — the smartest person you’ve ever met, the wisest person you’ve even met screaming in outrage for 2000 pages. It’s no bloody wonder it’s out print.

Anyways what Solzhenitsyn did was take on this claim you often hear the radical leftists make about communism, about Marxism. They say “Well that wasn’t real Marxism.” OK, well how many countries do you need to disprove your thesis? How many millions of people have to die before you might admit that you’re wrong?

Well obviously more than 100 million because that’s the approximate total, that’s probably an underestimate but we’ll be conservative because adding another 10 million doesn’t really make that much difference.

So Solzhenitsyn took that argument apart, partly in his book “Lenin and Zurich” and partly in “The Gulag Archipelago” but the groundwork had already been laid for all that by Nietzsche who knew exactly what was coming in the 20th century, and by Dostoyevsky who wrote a book called “The Possessed” back in 1880 where he outlined in painful detail the precise mindset that would produce the Russian Revolution like 30 years later. Amazing.

And Tolstoy as well! He knew what was coming, it made him suicidal. He wrote in his confession that the conflict between the ideas of Russia: the traditional ideas and the enlightenment ideas sweeping in from the west they blew his worldview apart which was traditional religious, blew his worldview apart so badly that he was suicidal at the height of his fame. Tolstoy knew what was going to come too.

So it’s not like Solzhenitsyn was the only person who could see this, Orwell knew it, Malcolm Muggeridge knew it in the 1930s when he was noting that the soviets given their idea of class guilt, which sounds like a lot like white privilege to me, or any other form of racism, they used that doctrine to just round up all the kulaks. They were the productive farmers and shipped them off to Siberia and then 6 million Ukrainians starved to death but they had too many Ukrainians anyways so it didn’t really matter.

ALSO READ:   3 Myths About the Future of Work (and Why They're Not True): Daniel Susskind (Transcript)

Anyways back to the post-modern types. Well this all came — was revealed in such painful detail that even the kind of closed minded ideologue that Norman referred to, just quite couldn’t — couldn’t quite muster up the moral courage to keep beating the same damn drum.

So what they did instead, being highly intelligent individuals was play a game of sleight of hand and transformed these Marxist presuppositions into post modernism in the 1970s. And the idea basically was “Well the working class isn’t going to rise up and crush the bourgeoisie” because first of all they’re getting rich and that wasn’t supposed to happen.

And second, well it sort of seemed to be a catastrophe when that occurred let’s say in Russia. And so maybe we won’t do that anymore because the working class actually isn’t buying into this either, which is also a problem, having internalized their own oppression, they wouldn’t buy into this the global myth of utopia.

Maybe it’s because they had some sense! It’s certainly possible but anyways the sleight of hand was “Oh well fine we’ll just play a different oppressor vs. oppressed game, and we’ll introduce identity politics.” It’s like “OK OK you’re not being oppressed because you’re a member of the working class, you’re being oppressed because you’re a woman, or you’re being oppressed because you have an ethnicity that’s outside the main paradigm whatever that might be.

Or it’s because of your sexual preference or your sexual identity, or whatever! Whatever places you in some manner outside of the normative culture? And the thing is the post-modernists, you might think well your culture’s good for something, it gives you a hierarchy of value, it rewards competent people, it gives you directions so you can climb up because otherwise everything is leveled to nothing and then why do anything.

They don’t care about any of that, they don’t believe that there’s any such thing as competence, they don’t believe that there’s any such thing as up. Post-modernism wipes all of that out.

And so when the post-modernists analyze a text all they care about is how it privileges the position of the author and who it impresses, and that’s the only thing they regard as real, and they don’t believe in grand unifying narratives, they don’t believe that there’s a Canadian identity, they don’t believe that there’s an American identity. They don’t believe that there’s a western identity, they don’t believe that value structures exist.

Or if they are they’re replaceable with some other value structure, they certainly don’t believe that they have any biological grounding that there’s any such thing as a human being, it’s all socially constructed, which is really convenient if what you want to do is be the author of an entirely socially constructed utopia that you can run.

And then when the Marxists say “Well that wasn’t real Marxism”, what it really means — and I’ve thought about this for a long time it’s the most arrogant possible statement anyone could ever make. It means: “If I would’ve been in Stalin’s position I would’ve ushered in the damn utopia instead of the genocidal massacres, because I understand the doctrine of Marxism and everything about me is good.”

It’s like well think again sunshine, you don’t understand it, you don’t understand it. And you’re not that good. And if the power was in your hands assuming you had the competence, which you don’t, you wouldn’t have done any better. And even if you had there would have been someone else waiting right behind you to shoot you the first time you actually tried to do anything good.

And that’s what happened to all the old guard who ran the damn revolution. Stalin rounded them all up and shot them along with their families and millions of other people.

So even if you do happen to be that avatar of moral purity that you claim implicitly, the probability that you’d get to act out your goodness in relationship to those possessed by your ideology is zero.

So you think well why are these post-modernists doing what they’re doing? Why do they oppose the patriarchy?

Here’s a question: why don’t the feminists complain about Saudi Arabia? It’s like Gad Saad who’s this guy at Concordia who is in the business school so he can actually say what he thinks now and then. He tweeted yesterday. Well he tweeted to the women’s march because there’s a little Twitter thing you can do that I suppose for the organizers.

And he said “Why don’t you go to the Middle East and have a nice march against Saudi Arabia and see how that works out for you?”

So you think: Well why not? Why not? Why are the radical leftists who are so much for rights everywhere, that’s what they say? Why aren’t they complaining about Saudi Arabia for example, which breeds a particularly pathological form of ideologically rigid Islam that basically enslaves their women, that’s to put it properly. Why not complain about that? Well how about this — the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

So when push comes to shove you see how much concern there is among the radical feminists for the rights of women. It’s like if pushing those rights forward doesn’t also at the same time undermine the western patriarchy then we’ll take the undermining and leave the damn rights behind.

And so there’s an insight for you about exactly what’s going on at the bottom of all this. OK so then there’s another weird thing and I’ve already sort of hit on it tangentially. It’s like well the post-modernists don’t believe in grand unifying narratives, they don’t believe in narratives at all. They don’t care about value because they never noticed that you have to value something in order to have some hope in life, right?

Because when you value something you’re pursuing it, and in the pursuit that’s where the meaning in life is, because the rest of it’s suffering. If you’re trying to struggle upwards towards the light it’s like well that’s something to motivate and protect you against the suffering. But the post-modernists don’t care about any of that and I would say it’s because they don’t care about suffering.

So all right so here’s the final question. It’s like well if the post modernists don’t care about grand unifying narratives and they don’t believe in identity why in the world are they willing to believe in gender identity and sexual identity and racial identity and ethnic identity?

And the answer to that is well they can’t! But they don’t care because coherence isn’t on their agenda. And besides that when push comes to shove their post modernism is nested inside a deeper Marxism. And so when the post-modernism doesn’t suffice, say to push forward the idea that western civilization should be overturned, they just revert back to the over-arching Marxism and say well “Those people are oppressed and that’s a bad thing.”

You might say “Well you’re a post-modernist, you don’t believe in any of that.” And they say “Well yeah I’m only a post-modernist this deep but underneath that there’s a Marxism and I can always rely on that to fill in the gaps.” And that’s exactly what’s happening. So that’s what’s happening as far as I can tell.

So why do I believe this? Well there’s a little war going on in our culture maybe it’s not so little. I put my finger on it and I wouldn’t recommend that by the way because OK you explain it man! You explain like why 3 million have watched the UofT free speech and I think 7 million people downloaded the Joe Rogan podcast and it’s like crazy, it’s crazy there was 180 newspaper articles about this. It was news for 4 months.

Why? Who cares what I think? God I don’t even care that much about what I think.

Well what about Trump? What’s going on there? What’s going on there exactly? It was interesting listening to Trump’s inauguration speech because I detected elements of national socialist thought in it. And I’m not being dismissive, I’m seriously not being dismissive.

But when you radically activate on the side of the left you call forth compensatory forces and they’re not in your control. Like Trump opened his speech, you just read it. He sounds like a 1950s socialist. He’s going to use the power of the state to bring the industry home to produce a lot of infrastructure. It’s a state-business unity with the state in charge.

And then at the end of his speech which is where he stops being the international kind of socialist. He says “Well borders are really important and so is national identity.” And he does embed that within belief in God which is probably a good thing assuming that he’s serious about that.

But the fact that Trump was elected and if there was such a fight between him and the Clintonites and that the Clintonites were playing identity politics instead of speaking for the working class who then Trump coopted like he should’ve. There! There’s a war going on there!

And then what about Brexit, what’s going on there? And what about France with Marine Le Pen and what about Holland with Wilders. Watch it! We’re in a chaotic time and I’ve gotten letters from people all over the world who tell me how they can’t say what they think. It’s like “Oh well that’s not very good.” and they’re kind of happy with me because maybe they think I embolden them in some way and so good for that, hypothetically.

And most of the people who wrote me, the overwhelming majority were reasonable so pretty happy about that too. But and maybe I’m wrong about my damn diagnosis because like what do I know? But I do have this proclivity to get to the bottom of things. And what’s at the bottom of this is an ideological or philosophical war, it’s even deeper than that. It might even be deeper than a philosophical war which is something that’s more like a metaphysical or theological war.

It depends on how far down you look and the postmodernists know exactly what they’re doing. This isn’t accidental. Of course you shut down speakers you don’t agree with because you can’t have a dialogue with them anyways. Because human beings can’t have dialogue. There’s no such thing as a human individual, there’s no such thing as truth.

Here’s the post-modern world, it’s the Hobbesian nightmare, it’s everyone against everyone else, except it’s not individuals, it’s groups. And you’re stuck in your damn group and it’s the only thing about you anyways, that’s relevant which is why we might base our hiring on it for example.

And you’re oppressed and even if you don’t know it is only because you’ve internalized it and it’s the only thing that’s real about you anyways. And I can’t talk to you because I’m in my own little silo of privileged belief and besides we can’t use logic because that doesn’t exist.

And so you’re in a group and I’m in a group and all we can do is have a war! Or we can talk but we don’t get to talk because you can’t talk if you’re a post-modernist because speech is just chatter, it’s just chatter that supports the people in power. That’s how they think and so the whole world is this little armed war of identity group against identity group against identity group.

And you shut down people who don’t agree with you because why should you let them talk? You don’t believe in any of the reasons why you would let someone talk. So this isn’t accidental, it’s not because they’re afraid, although it’s also because of that. They highjack fear, they highjack compassion, they make anyone who who puts forwards an alternative view into a terrorist of ideas and someone who’s heartless at the core, which is really incredibly intelligent, it’s such a good strategy.

ALSO READ:   Why U.S. Prisons Need to Abolish Solitary Confinement: Laura Rovner (Transcript)

It’s so devious and brilliant and it’s so effective, because who the hell wants to be labeled a bigot, you probably are a damn bigot just like everyone else.

So it’s easy to make people feel guilty about that and maybe they should. So anyways what’s going on? Well, that’s what’s going on. And so what do you do about it? Well I don’t know what you do about it but I have a theory and that’s one I’ve been working on for like 40 years.

So one of the problems with post-modernism — and I’m going to take 5 minutes, and then we’re done — one of the problems with post-modernism is that — and this is a big problem, this is a fatal problem apart from the fact that it’s incoherent and there’s no value structure and it’s fundamentally divisive and destructive.

There’s a logical problem with it too that’s even worse. And so you might be noticing that the LGBT set of acronyms keeps growing and it’s kind of a form of its own parody in some sense, it’s like “Well I’m oppressed!” It’s like “Yeah yeah you are” and “Well I’m oppressed too!”

Yeah you’re also oppressed and maybe I’m even oppressing you being a part of this other marginalized group but at least we share our oppression. “Well I’m also oppressed”

“Well so am I!”

“I’m oppressed too!”

It’s like …

Okay so here’s a problem. There’s a big problem here. The problem is, it’s true! You’re oppressed. You’re oppressed. You’re oppressed. You’re oppressed. You’re oppressed. God only knows why maybe you’re too short or not as beautiful as you could be or your grand-parent was a serf. Likely! Because almost everybody’s great-grandparent was. And you’re not as smart as you could be and you have a sick relative and you have your own physical problems, it’s like frankly you’re a mess.

And you’re oppressed in every possible way including your ancestry and biology and the entire sum of human history has conspired to produce victimized you, with all your individual pathological problems. It’s like YES! TRUE! Okay, but the problem is that it is true.

And so if you take the oppressed you have to fractionate them and fractionate them and it’s like you’re a woman. Yeah okay well I’m a black woman. Well I’m a black woman who has two children. Well I’m a black woman who has two children and one of them isn’t very healthy.

And then, well I’m a Hispanic women and I have a genius son who doesn’t have any money so he can’t go to university and I had a hell of a time getting across the border and it was really hard on me to get my citizenship. My husband is an alcoholic brute. It’s like “Well yeah that sucks too!”

And so well so let’s fix all your oppression, and we’ll take every single thing in to account and then we’ll fix yours too. We’ll take every single thing into account. No you won’t because you can’t! You can’t! It’s technically impossible.

First of all you can’t even list all the ways you’re oppressed. Second, how are you going to weight them? Third, who’s going to to decide and that’s the bloody thing. Who’s going to decide? That’s the thing.

Well what’s the answer in the west? It’s like in free markets. Oh yeah Christ we’ll never be able to solve this problem, no one can solve it. What are we going to do about that? We’re going to outsource it to the marketplace. You’re going to take your sorry pathetic being and you’re going to try offer me something that maybe I want. And I’m going to take my sorry pathetic being and I’m going to say well all things considered as well as I can understand them, maybe I could give you this much money which is actually a promise for that thing.

And you’ve packed all of your damn oppression into the price! And I’ve packed all my oppression in to the willingness to pay it. And that solution sucks. It’s a bad solution! But compared to every other solution man, it’s why 10% of us have freedom. And so there’s a tremendous illogic at the bottom of this, it’s like, you have to fractionate the oppressed all the way done to the level of the individual.

Well that’s what the west figured out. There’s a couple of figures who act the mythological roots of our culture and people get upset with me because I bring in religious themes, but I understand some things about mythology and religion. It’s not an accident that the axiomatic western individual is someone who was unfairly nailed to a cross and tortured, it’s like YES! RIGHT! EXACTLY!

So what do you do about that? Well I thought about that for a long time too, it’s like well you don’t get together in a damn mob because all that does is allow you to be as horrible as you can possibly imagine and suffer from none of the consequences. That’s a bad idea, so how about we don’t do that.

Well there’s a deep idea in the west too. It’s like pick up your damn suffering and bear it And ary to be a good person so you don’t make it worse! Well that’s a truth.

I read a lot about the terrible things that people have done to each other, you just cannot even imagine it. It’s so awful. So you don’t want to be someone like that.

Now do you have a reason to be? Yes! You have a lots of reasons to be! God, there’re reasons to be resentful about your existence, everyone you know is going to die. You too! And there’s going to be a fair bit of pain along the way and lots of it’s going to be unfair, it’s like yeah! No wonder you’re resentful. It’s like act it out and see what happens.

You make everything you’re complaining about infinitely worse! There’s this idea that hell is a bottomless pit and that’s because no matter how bad it is some stupid son of a bitch like you could figure out a way to make it a lot worse. So you think well? What do you do about that? Well you accept it! That’s what life is like, it’s suffering. That’s what the religious people have always said: life is suffering. Yes!

Well who wants to admit that? Well just think about it. Well so what do you do in the face of that suffering? Try to reduce it. Start with yourself, what good are you? Get yourself together for Christ’s sakes so that when your father dies you’re not whining away in a corner and you can help plan the funeral and you can stand up solidly so that people can rely on you. That’s better! Don’t be a damn victim! Of course you’re a victim! Jesus. Obviously!

Put yourself together and then maybe if you put yourself together — you know how to do that, you know what’s wrong with you if you’ll admit it. You know there’s a few things you could like polish up a little bit, that you might even be able to manage in your insufficient present condition.

So you might shine yourself up a little bit, and then your eyes will be a little more open, and then you can shine yourself up a little bit more. And then maybe you could bring your family together instead of having them be the hateful, spiteful, neurotic infighting batch that you’re doomed to spend Christmas with.

So then you fix yourself up a little bit, kind of humbly because God you’re a fixer upper if there ever was one. And then you got to figure out well can you figure out how to make peace with your idiot brother and probably not because he’s just as dumb as you, so how the hell are you going to manage that.

So then maybe you get somewhere that way and your family’s sort of functioning and you find out well that kind of relieved a little bit of suffering although it reduced the opportunities for spiteful revenge and that’s kind of a pain in the neck.

So then you get your family together a little bit and you’re a little clued in then at least a bit because you’ve done something difficult that’s actually difficult. You’re wiser so then maybe you can put a tentative finger out beyond the family and try to change some little thing without wrecking it.

Our society is complex and we teach our students that they could just fix it. It’s like go fix a military helicopter and see how far you get with that. It’s like what’re you going to do, you’re like a chimp with a wrench. Whack! “Oh look it’s better!” No! It’s not better! Things are complicated and to fix things is really hard and you have to be like a golden tool to fix things and you’re not.

And that’s the other message of the west. How do you overcome to suffering of life? And I’m not saying it’s only the message of the west. How do you overcome the suffering of life is be a better person! That’s how you do it.

Well that’s hard, it takes responsibility and I think if you said to someone “You want to have a meaningful life? Everything you do matters!” That’s the definition of a meaningful life. But everything you do matters!

So you’re going to have to carry that with you, or do you want to just forget about the whole meaning thing, and then you don’t have any responsibility because who the hell cares, you can wander through life doing whatever you want, gratifying impulsive desires for how useful that’s going to be.

And you’re stuck in meaninglessness but you don’t have any responsibility: which one do you want? Well, ask yourself: which one are you pursuing? And you’ll find very rapidly that it isn’t the majority of your soul that’s pursuing the whole meaning thing, because well look what you have to do to do that.

You have to take on the fact that life is suffering. You have to put yourself together in the face of that. Well that’s hard! Christ it’s amazing people can even do it, I’m stunned every day when I go outside. And it isn’t a riot with everything burning. Really? God! You talk to people it’s like I knew this guy he’d been in a motorcycle accident and it really ruined him. He was a linesmen working on the power and he was working with someone who had Parkinson’s disease and they had complementary inadequacies.

And so two of them could do the job of one person, so they’re out there fixing power lines in the freezing cold despite the fact that one was 3/4ths wrecked with a motorcycle accident and the other one had Parkinson’s. That’s how our civilization works! There’s all these ruined people out there.

They’ve got problems like you can’t believe. Off they go to work and do things they don’t even like, and look! The lights are on! My God! It’s unbelievable, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle.

And we’re so ungrateful! College students, the post-modern types, they’re so ungrateful. They don’t know that they are surrounded by just a bloody miracle, it’s a miracle that all this stuff works, that all you crazy chimpanzees that don’t know each other can sit in the same room for two hours sweltering away without tearing each other apart because that’s what chimps do!

Anyways, so what happened? Well I made some videos and I got to the bottom of some things, at least as far as I can tell. So I told you what the bottom is and then I’ve got this idea about what you might do about it which isn’t my idea, it’s not my idea, it’s an old old old old idea; it’s far older than Christianity.

It’s old — it’s the oldest story of mankind. Get yourself together. Transcend your suffering. See if you can be some kind of hero. Make the suffering in the world less.

Well that’s the way forward as far as I can tell if there is any way forward. And that’s what’s under assault by the post modernists.

So look out because they know exactly what they’re doing and they know exactly why they’re doing it. And that’s what it looks like to me.

So, that’s it!


Download This Transcript as PDF here: Dr. Jordan B Peterson on Freedom of Speech & Political Correctness (Full Transcript)